Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Catholic Free Press gets it wrong again
Once again, The Catholic Free Press [Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts] has demonstrated that it is not committed toward offering its readers an authentic Catholic teaching. Writing in the June 14, 2013 edition, Fr. Conrad S. Pecevich, Pastor of St. Anne's Parish in Southborough, correctly notes that, "Time and again throughout the Gospels, Jesus chastised the religious people of his day, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, for their hasty judgmental attitudes."
So far so good. But then Fr. Pecevich writes, "When we commit the sin of judgment, we place ourselves morally above others. We forget that, like them, we are poor, miserable sinners who fall short of the glory of God. Passing a judgment is passing a sentence on another."
Is Fr. Pecevich right? Is all judging wrong? Those Catholics who believe so apparently believe that love of enemies means condoning vice and sin. In the words of Dr. Germain Grisez, one of the finest moral theologians of our time, "It might seem to follow that love must accept everyone, even enemies, just as they are, and to affirm them even in the error or sin which is present in them. But the law of love does not require indiscriminate affirmation of everything about other persons (see Saint Thomas Aquinas, S.t., 2-2, q.34, a.3). One's love must be like Jesus'. He loves sinners and brings them into communion with himself in order to overcome their error and sin. When the scribes and pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, he not only saves her from being stoned to death but warns her not to sin again (see John 8:3-11). In a true sense, Jesus is not judgmental, he sets aside the legalistic mentality, readily forgives sinners, does not condemn the world, and points out that those who refuse to acknowledge their sinfulness are self-condemned by the truth they violate (see John 3:16-21). But he realistically recognizes sinners as sinners and never accepts error as truth...
Similarly, if Christians' love of neighbor is genuine, it not only permits but REQUIRES THEM both to 'hold fast to what is good' and to 'hate what is evil' (Romans 12:9)."And again, according to Dr. Grisez, "Vatican II neatly formulates the prohibition against judging others" 'God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts; for that reason, he forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone' (Gaudium et Spes, No. 28). This norm, however, does not preclude JUDGMENTS necessary for determining that one should try to dissuade others from committing sins or to encourage them to repent if they have sinned."
Judging isn't always sinful. It is only sinful when we judge another's interior dispositions, when we judge their soul. But we are entirely free to judge words, ideas and actions which fail to hold up when placed in the Lumen Christi (Light of Christ).Sacred Scripture, which confused souls such as Fr. Pecevich obviously do not spend enough time with, makes this abundantly clear: "should you not judge those inside the Church"? (1 Corinthians 5:12), and again: "the saints will judge the world and angels" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3), and again: "the spiritual man judges all things" (1 Corinthians 2:15), and again: "Let prophets speak and the others judge" (1 Corinthians 14:29).
This is just common sense. Our legal system is structured in such a way that when a person commits a crime, he or she is tried before a judge and sentenced (judged) if found guilty. Likewise, it is our right (and duty) to judge words, ideas and actions which are not in conformity with the Gospels or which fail to conform to the Magisterial teaching of Christ's Church and to expose these as fallacious and/or sinful. In so doing, we are not rendering a judgment against a person. We are following the teaching of the great Saint Augustine (Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church), who said: "Interficere errorem, diligere errantem" - kill the error, love the one who errs. This killing of what is sinful or erroneous is necessary if our charity - our love of neighbor - is to be genuine. Otherwise, our love is counterfeit. It is a fraud.
Several years ago a priest from the Worcester Diocese, serving in Winchendon, affirmed a senior couple in their sin [engaging in sexual intercourse outside of marriage] and asserted that anyone who told them they are engaging in sinful activity is being judgmental and that such people will go to Hell for their judgmentalism. See here.
I have been ostracized within the Worcester Diocese because I believe in calling sin what it is: sin. And because I refuse to buy into the watered-down Catholicism which is in vogue at the moment. But I stand with Our Lady of Fatima who warned that many souls go to Hell and primarily for sexual sins which are, objectively speaking, gravely sinful.
I have no interest in judging the internal guilt of individuals. That is God's domain alone. But that doesn't mean I must turn a blind eye to sin. I refuse to say along with Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?" If I see someone rushing toward the abyss by embracing what is [objectively speaking] gravely sinful, I will do my best to warn that person because I truly love them.
If that means I will continue to be ostracized and labelled "hateful," so be it. Like my namesake, I do not seek to be popular with men. I serve the Lord Jesus.